Recycling prices and market commentary: 7 February 2020


Recycled plastics and paper packaging grades saw some uplift this week due to the increase of the PRN/PERN for both.

For plastics, film grades saw the biggest increase while bottle grades were held back due to continuing subdued demand. (More on this below).


OCC was the only increase in paper grades helped by a couple of factors (see below).

In metals, copper recovered some of last week’s losses but not all.

The FX markets saw help for deep sea destinations this week with the pound weakening to $1.29 from $1.31 last week, making UK recycled plastics and paper a little bit cheaper.

However, the pound against the euro was unchanged at €1.17, although it did briefly increase midweek just above the €1.18 level.

Recycled plastics

It was a strange week in the plastic PRN/PERN market with one buyer of the certification coming in strong midweek to push the price up to around £300 per tonne – an increase on £260 where it had finished last week.

But the market decided that it could not sustain this level so early in the compliance year, and once that buyer pulled out again, the PRN/PERN price dropped back. At the time of writing, it was trading at around £280 to £285 per tonne.

The effect on the physical market wasn’t quite so strong.

For bottle grades, where demand is still subdued, the price increased by just £10 per tonne suggesting the underlying picture is negative. UK buyers in particular appear well stocked, and trade into Europe isn’t great either.

Film grades were slightly better, taking £20 of the £25 increase with European buyers most interested. Asian and UK destinations were less interested, and where they could, were looking to absorb the PRN/PERN rather than push prices higher.

Forecast prices

LDPE 98/2442-448448-454

Recycled paper

OCC benefited from the weaker dollar against the pound with Asian buyers still dominating the market.

With the PRN/PERN price also rising a touch, this helped to boost the price by a couple of quid.

Indonesia continues to dominate the market, driving prices higher with around £50 per tonne possible for the best quality material.

China is a bit below that and there will be concerns here around lower quota and also any impacts of the coronavirus.

Turkey retains good interest in the market, as does India, but UK and European mills appear well stocked at the moment.

With many still expecting the market to turn back down soon, but prices still rising, either prices will have to reflect sentiment, or sentiment will have to change to reflect a market that has risen from our market price of £18 per tonne in December to £40 per tonne now.

Other grade prices remained unchanged.

Forecast prices

Mixed-3- -7-3 – -7

Recycled metals

Copper recovered £100 per tonne of the £300 per tonne it lost last week as a result of fears that coronavirus would hit Chinese demand.

This recovery seemed more of a correction that anything solid suggesting sustained increases, but only the next week or two will tell if that is the case.

Other grades were largely stable.

Recycling prices

For recycled paper prices, click here

For recycled plastic prices, click here

For recycled metal prices, click here

For recycled glass prices, click here

For PRN/PERN prices, click here

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